MAPLE TREE TAPPING
Did you know that although Europeans knew how to tap trees, it was the American Indian who discovered how to make maple syrup?
Indians from New England to Canada were producing maple syrup from 1664. The Indians made a sloping cut, or gash, two inches deep and 2-1/2 inches long, in the side of a tree.
A knife or wood chip was put into the bottom of the cut so the sap flowed down the cut, onto the knife and into a receptacle on the ground. The receptacles were made either of bark caulked with pitch or hollowed out logs.
Boiling Off - bring the sweetness from the sap
See exhibit at Festival Park Sugar Shack
The earliest method of boiling off was to use a single iron or brass kettle supported over an open fire.
The water was cooked until it could not be stirred with a ladle.
Then it was removed from the fire and stirred rapidly until it was cool and the syrup hardened into sugar.
MAKING MAPLE SYRUP
Somerset County's Richest Tradition: -
see exhibit at Festival Park Sugar Shack
Obtained from the sugar maple, one of the most beautiful and stately of American trees, maple syrup was first made by the Indians and continued by the white settlers who followed.
The making of maple syrup is truly an American art.
MAPLE SYRUP INDUSTRY
Maple Production - A Labor of Love - It's hard work, but with sweet rewards.
Today the production of maple syrup and other products has changed significantly since the Indians in this region discovered the sweet liquid in the 1600's.
Although new innovations and techniques have made maple production more efficient, it continues to be a very labor intensive industry.
SOME MAPLE SYRUP ODDS & ENDS
Only PURE maple syrup and maple products may be designated as "maple syrup, maple sugar, maple candy, etc.".
Nothing is added to "PURE" syrup.
Color is an important designation, and table syrup is most often sold as light, medium, or dark amber.
Unopened containers of maple syrup can be stored in any cool, dry place. Keep opened containers of syrup under refrigeration.
Many users buy maple syrup in gallons and then pour off into smaller jars for more convenient use. To do this heat the syrup to 180 degrees F, fill hot sterilized jars with syrup, seal, and place in boiling water for ten minutes.
MAPLE SYRUP RECIPES
Video of 1940's Tree Tapping and Sap Collection
The video below shows the laborious task of collecting the sugar water from the tree, gathering it into the sugar wagon and taking the sap to the lodge where it can be turned into maple products.
This footage was recently obtained by the Pennsylvania Maple Festival through an area resident who had the video and wanted it preserved. The footage is believed to be taken by Moldy Baker of Boynton, Pennsylvania
It was shot on location at Keim's Sugar Camp in Salisbury, Pennsylvania. If you know who these individual are in the video, or other information, please contact the Maple Festival Office and help us solve some of the mystery.